Smoke billows from car bonnets. Figures stand in rivers and lakes. Headlights pierce through tree trunks. Prague-based Martin Stranka’s (b. 1984) images appear like stills from a film — walking the line between fantasy and reality. Stranka, a native of the Czech Republic, first picked up a camera whilst studying at business school. The unexpected loss of a close friend led him to pursue photography as a form of therapy.
Shown here are images from the Boyhood series, a “visual confession” exploring identity, alienation and coming of age. Stranka’s work has been recognised by global awards and exhibited in museums worldwide— Getty Images Gallery and Saatchi Gallery among them. His photographs can also be found on the covers of thriller and mystery novels fromHarper Collins and Penguin. It’s a fitting match; the compositions are full of suspense and compelling narratives waiting to unfold.
Each snapshot exists, according to Stranka, “in a narrow window of a few seconds between dreaming and awakening.” Unexplained scenarios are left for the viewer to decipher. How did these characters come to be in the woods? What awaits them beyond the frame? The photographer wants this to remain unknown. “What led to this situation and what will happen next is a question for all of us,” he concludes.
1. Martin Stranka, Boyhood – Remember Me
2. Martin Stranka, Boyhood – Memories
3. Martin Stranka, Boyhood – Behind the Trees
4. Martin Stranka, I Found The Silence – Circle Of Life